Both sexes fully winged. Body and legs yellow, major setae dark brown; antennal segments VI–VIII brown, also apex of II–IV but V clear yellow; fore wing pale. Head wider than long; 3 pairs of ocellar setae present, pair III as long as side of ocellar triangle, arising on anterior margins of triangle; postocular setae pair I present, pair IV as long as one hind ocellus. Antennae 8-segmented, III–IV with sensorium forked; segment III pedicel with sharp edged ring surmounted by chalice-shaped structure, ring upper surface flat but lower surface concave. Pronotum with 5 pairs of major setae; anteromarginal setae distinctly shorter than anteroangulars, one pair of minor setae present medially between posteromarginal submedian setae. Metanotum with 2 pairs of setae at anterior margin, campaniform sensilla present. Fore wing with both setal rows complete. Abdominal tergites V–VIII with paired ctenidia, on VIII anterolateral to spiracle; posteromarginal comb on VIII represented by a few broadly based microtrichia laterally. Sternites III–VII without discal setae.
Male similar to female but smaller; sternites III–VII medially with broadly oval pore plate.
F. cephalica is not known from California, but is included here because it is a potential immigrant from the Caribbean. It is particularly similar to F. bispinosa from southeastern USA, the only recorded difference being in the shape of the pedicel ring on the third antennal segment. Molecular data is required to confirm that these are distinct biological species. Currently 230 species are listed in the genus Frankliniella, with up to 130 further names placed into synonymy (Nakahara, 1997). This high rate of synonymy has been due to the previously unrecognized variability in size and color of so many species. Keys to 74 species recorded from Central America and the Carribean were provided by Mound & Marullo (1996), and to 40 species from Brazil by Cavalleri & Mound (2012).
Frankliniella cephalica (Crawford DL)
Breeding in flowers
Recorded from a wide range of flowers, but particularly common in small white flowers such as Mangifera (Anacardiaceae) and Ligustrum (Oleaceae) in Central America. In Taiwan, associated with flowers of Bidens pilosa (Asteraceae).
Widespread between Bermuda and Trinidad, Mexico and Colombia. Also known from Japan (Okinawa) and Taiwan. Not known from California.